Disclaimers: See Part 1
WHERE EAGLES FLY
There is a certain sensuality to a south Florida summer. Heat rises up from the pavements and down from the sky. It radiates off bodies, permeating the air. Ocean breezes fan the heat. Attractions, often unrecognized in the wetness of spring, pulsate and throb in the heat of a south Florida summer.
Hours turned into days and days into weeks. As the Dansky trial went on, Lonnie and Lark became more and more comfortable in each others presence. They often took a swim together before dinner, enjoying a playful comraderie. They would sit in silence in the evening, each absorbed in her own thoughts, Lonnie working on legal papers and Lark reading the latest crime novel. They became a part of each others lives in an inextricable way. Mornings and evenings would find Lark on the deck beside the pool doing her tai chi exercises. Lonnie loved to watch the liquid movements of the agent as she bent and stretched and turned. Gone were the loose flowing clothes of the park and, in their place, Lark more often wore a two piece bathing suit which left little to the imagination. Occasionally, Lonnie would join her but never was she able to match Lark's splendid grace.
Summer moved into Fourth of July weekend. Court was closed for a long weekend, and the two women had nothing to do but enjoy themselves for the first time in a long time. Lonnie prepared a light supper and poured some wine for both of them. They ate slowly and cleaned up the dishes together, then sat down at oppposite ends of the couch to listen to music and enjoy another glass of wine.
"I feel like a swim. Are you game?"
"Sure. Last one in's a rotten egg," said Lark. She jumped up and ran toward the pool, shedding her clothes on the way, and dove quickly into the water.
Lonnie stood there in stunned silence, then let out a gleeful laugh and followed suit. She felt like a devil may care teenager for the first time in a long time. The pure spontaneity of it all delighted her.
"No fair," she shouted. "You had a head start." She dove into the pool and felt the warm water caressing her naked body. Her dive was deep and long. When she came up out of the water, she was within and inch or two of Lark.
"Fair, I'll give you fair," Lark laughed as she snaked her ankle around the other woman's legs and dunked her in the pool.
Lonnie came up sputtering. "I'll get you for that, Amazon," the smaller woman said, feigning a pout.
"Try it, day-glo," Lark smirked, swimming as fast as she could to the other end of the pool, then kicking against the side and heading back again.
The two women joked and played together, each silently thankful for the six foot stucco fence that surrounded the pool and separated them from the federal agents standing guard on the other side. Finally, in welcome exhaustion, they swam to the side of the pool and pulled themselves out. There were no towels to cover or dry them, but it no longer mattered. They walked into the house together knowing that something new and different had arisen between them that night.
Lonnie woke with the morning sun warming her body. She had showered and gone to bed naked after the activities of the night before. She glanced at the clock. 6:00 A.M.
"God, it's a day off and I'm still up at the crack of dawn," she thought. She slipped out of bed with an audible groan and headed for the bathroom. She emerged wearing a blue silk robe and nothing else.
As she entered the living space, Lonnie heard a sound on the deck and was saw that Lark was already up and into her tai chi ritual. The French doors to the deck were open. Lark spoke without turning around.
"Good morning, your Honor. Sleep well?"
"How do you do that," Lonnie asked.
"Know that I'm there without seeing me."
"I always know when you're there," the taller woman replied seriously. "Your energy precedes you. I feel it."
"I envy you," said the blonde. "I wish I could feel things as easily."
'You can,' thought Lark. 'You just don't know it yet.' She let Lonnie's words hang in the air without responding.
"Will you teach me how to do that?" Lonnie asked.
"What you're doing. The movements."
"That's easy. Come here. I'll show you," Lark said as she walked back into the living room. Lonnie moved toward her, then realized she was nude under her robe.
"Be right back, she said. "Let me go change."
She headed to her room and returned wearing loose-fitting clothing. She was curious when she saw Lark was sitting cross-legged on a large pillow on the living room floor. Another large pillow was on the floor in front of her.
"Sit," Lark said, pointing at the empty pillow.
Lonnie raised an eyebrow quizically but sat down cross-legged on the pillow as she had seen Lark do. Without waiting for a question, Lark began.
"First, you must prepare yourself. You must clear your mind of all extraneous things. You have to reach into your inner soul and speak and touch the god-light within you."
"I don't understand," Lonnie said.
"Father-Mother God is in each of us. God is the peace center, the place where calm and serenity reside. To reach that place, you have to ignore the outer world and touch the inner world. It is the inner world that will connect you to the cosmos." The sound of the dark-haired woman's voice was liquid, hypnotic, soothing. The blonde sat silently, waiting for her to continue.
"Place your hands, palms up, against the top of your thighs. That's it. Now, place your index fingers against your thumbs. O.K., good. Close your eyes. Now, breathe deeply, move your breath down into your abdomen, feel your breath, know it's there. Good, good. Sit up straight."
Lonnie did not realize that the other woman had arisen from her own pillow until she sensed her presence behind her. She felt a large hand and long fingers placed against her lower back while another hand reached to pull her shoulders straight. The hand left her shoulders, and she instantly missed its presence. She felt her energy shift downward as the hand returned, stretching over her abdomen and coming to rest just above her pubic bone.
"Breathe into my hand," the dark-haired woman said. The blonde did as she was told and instantly felt as though a silver thread had been flung from the cosmos into the very center of her being.
"Breathe," Lark repeated. "Breathe."
"Now, I want you to travel down deep into your mind. Let your inner eye move to your very depths. There is nothing else but you and the universe. There is no outside world. There are no other sounds. Just you and your soul in the presence of Father-Mother God. Feel it. Touch it. Let the light surround you, flow into you. Let the light warm you."
Lonnie felt the heat permeate her body. She didn't understand what was happening, but she felt safety in the blanket of Lark's voice. She was transported to a place she never knew existed, and she did not want to leave. Then she heard Lark's voice beckoning her to return. She opened her eyes slowly and stared into dark eyes that were once again sitting across from her.
Lark rose slowly and held out her hand. Lonnie stood and took it. Lark moved behind Lonnie and pressed her body against the smaller woman's back. She lay her arms down the length of Lonnie's arms and lifted them slowly. Then she began her dance. Lonnie leaned back into the body behind her and let herself flow with its rhythm - liquid, languid, one movement running seamlessly into the next. It was hypnotic, erotic, holy all at once. And then, as easily as it had begun, she felt the dance stop and their bodies move as one into a pose of worship.
Facing West, arms outstretched to the sky, she heard that silken voice say: "Father-Mother God I thank you for this day and for the love within it. May you use me for your good and to your service."
The outstretched arms moved in toward her chest in prayerful pose. The same movements and the same prayer were repeated three more times, ending with both women facing East with their final prayer.
Lark stepped away from Lonnie, standing just close enough that the air between them remained heated. Lonnie could feel the heat, pulsing, throbbing, burning into her back. She could not move.
It was Lark who finally broke the contact. "And that's how it is done," she said quietly.
The Dansky trial was coming to its conclusion, and Lark was pleased that nothing more had come of the purported contract on Lonnie's life. She knew better than to let her guard down but was hopeful that the informant who had reported it was either downright wrong or lying just to get a deal. Either way, in the best of all possible worlds, Lonnie would be safe. She had come to respect the tough little blonde and, if she were honest with herself, she would admit that her feelings went far beyond respect to something more personal.
It was a Saturday. Normally, Lonnie would have the day off but a colleague had called her to request she cover for him at the Saturday arraignments. He thought he was coming down with the flu and needed to spend a few days at home. Lonnie didn't mind. He'd covered for her in the past, and it was quid pro quo.
The two women arrived around 7 a.m. at an unusually quiet courthouse. Arraignments didn't start until 9, but Lonnie wanted to stop by her office and get some paperwork out of the way. The two musketeers on duty that weekend were Sam and John. Lonnie liked them both. Sam was a little nebish and John a big teddy bear but she had no doubt as to their strength and abilities.
The three agents and Lonnie took the elevator up to to her office on the the eighth floor. Sam and John stayed outside in the hall while Lark and Lonnie went into the office. Lonnie found a folder of completed work that Carla had left on her desk and began reading and signing various orders and letters. The women could hear the good-natured ribbing going on between the two men outside, and they would occasionally break into laughter at the men's banter.
Lonnie had been working for about an hour and was so focused that she hardly noticed her surroundings. Lark, however, felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise and heard the loudness of the silence from the hallway. There was no longer any kidding between Sam and John, just cold silence. She knew in her gut something was wrong, and she had learned long ago to trust her gut instincts. She got up from the couch and quietly locked the door to the office. She went to the supply closet and pulled out a harness and two kevlar vests that she had stored there as a contingency. She walked toward the judge and, as Lonnie looked up, she placed her fingers over her lips as a signal to be silent. She motioned to Lonnie to put on the kevlar. Lonnie did so without hesitation while Lark donned her own. The agent then motioned for the blonde to step into the harness and fastened it securely after she did.
Lark nodded toward the bathroom door and followed Lonnie into the bathroom. Few people knew there was an exit in the rear of the bathroom into a small hallway right next to a building exit, but Lark had scoped out all means of ingress and egress weeks before. The two women exited the bathroom into the hallway and then stepped through the exit door into the stairwell. Lark pointed upwards. Lonnie shook her head vehemently no. Lark pointed again and glared. Lonnie reluctantly complied and started up the stairs. As they went through each door, the agent locked it behind them even though she knew that it would only be a temporary stalling technique and not a final solution to keeping a predator at bay.
As they hit the stairwell, Lark began yelling into her two-way radio, "9-9-9 Eagle's Nest. 9-9-9 Eagle's Nest."
She pushed Lonnie up the stairs ahead of her. She could hear doors opening and closing below and the sound of footsteps running up the stairs. She prayed the copter team was in position and could hear her.
Lonnie could feel her heart pumping as the adrenalin rushed to her brain. She was terrified, but she felt safe with Lark. The two women burst through the door to the roof of the courthouse. The agent slammed the door shut and jammed a piece of wood under the knob hoping to delay the attackers a while longer. She moved with the judge to the edge of the courthouse roof and breathed a sigh of relief when she heard the rotors of a helicopter overhead.
Lonnie's breath was ragged. Every nerve in her body was screaming in fear. She was facing the door they had just come through, and Lark was in front of her with her back to the door.
The tall woman looked down at the shorter blonde. "Do you trust me," she asked.
"With my life," the blonde replied. It was a defining moment between them.
The helicopter hovered overhead, the wind from its rotors washing over the two women below. A cable came down from the copter. Lark grabbed it and snapped dangling hooks onto the harness Lonnie was wearing. Lonnie realized in an instant what was happening.
"No," she screamed. "No!"
Lark bent quickly and brushed the small blonde's lips with her own before sending her over the precipice. Lonnie felt herself jerked into the air and looked down to see flashes of gunfire on the roof like roman candles on the Fourth of July. She saw Lark drop and roll as she herself was pulled upwards and out over the ocean dangling from a rope beneath the helicopter. The courthouse got smaller and smaller in her sight. Lonnie felt the blood draining from her face and lapsed into a welcome unconsciousness as her terror of heights overcame her. Her last thoughts were of Lark.
Two men in camouflage burst through the door to the roof, snapping like a match stick the piece of wood she had placed under the knob. One went to her right, the other to her left.
The agent felt the impact of the bullet on her back the minute it hit. The kevlar held the first but the second bullet hit her in the upper arm and spun her around. The adrenalin rush was so great that she never felt the pain of the hit. She just knew her left arm was dangling uselessly at her side.
Lark dropped and rolled in a classic maneuver emptying her gun at the forms. It was almost impossible to handle the G22 with one hand but she did. The largest of the two dropped quickly, a bullet between his eyes. The smaller dropped and rolled as one of her shots just grazed him. He rolled toward her rather than away. He grabbed an iron rod laying on the roof and slammed it into her bad arm. The pain washed over her in dizzying waves. She struggled to her feet, and her assailant did the same.
He rushed at her. "I've got you now, bitch," he yelled.
"In your dreams, sucker," Lark shouted back. Just as he reached her, the agent threw herself down and scissor-kicked him over the edge of the roof. She heard his screams echoing on the morning breeze. Her last thought was of Lonnie before she passed out from the pain.
The roof door slammed open again. Voices began screaming. "Agent down. Agent down."
Lark could hear voices above her but she couldn't see where they came from. She could feel the blood running out of her. She was in herself and above herself. She couldn't move. She saw a glow in front of her. Out of the glow came a short, blonde figure.
"Lonnie," she whispered.
"I'm here, love," the blonde replied.
"Did I really kiss you," the dark haired woman asked.
"And did you kiss me back?"
"I love you."
"And I love you."
The glow began to fade.
"Don't go," Lark screamed silently.
And then there was nothing.
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